Our First Love

February 14, 2014

Revelations 2:3-5

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

 


Our First Love


Many times our marriages and our relationship with Christ have a lot in common.  They both are built upon love and relationship.  They generally start out with great commitment, emotion and passion to love and serve the Lord or to love and serve our spouse.  Through the course of life with all of its trials and demands the polish and gold tends to wear thin on the feelings and commitment we first felt and lived toward the Lord and toward our spouse. Many of us have endured many hardships together and we have trusted the Lord through many of them.  

Even though we are good people, who have worked hard for our marriage and for our spiritual relationship the dynamics have changed.  We’ve somehow lost the closeness and the intimacy of relationship we once had.  

This word “forsaken” in verse 4 in the Greek means, “ to depart, as of a husband divorcing his wife, yield up, expire, let go, let alone, to disregard, to leave, to omit, neglect.”  Do any of these words speak to our hearts as to our relationships in our marriage and in our walk and relationship with Christ?  We are still here in body, going through the motions of marriage and relationship, but have our hearts left the room?  Have they grown cold with complacency?  Sometimes our marriages are measured by how well we tolerate one another rather than how well we really love and bless one another.  Even in our Christianity we so often get in the rut of being religious, going to church, giving our tithe or doing our duty, but our heart and passion are no longer in it.  

It is a time for stirring up the embers and throwing on some new wood.  It is a time we must blow and breathe new life back into the fire of our relationships.  I’ll admit I have been bad about becoming so caught up in my business and the things that concern me, that I have neglected the weightier matters.  Somehow we come to take for granted that this loved one will always be there and everything will be fine, meanwhile we allow the foundation to rot out from under us.  One day we wake up and our house is in ruin.  The signs were all around but we didn’t heed them until our lampstand had been plucked from us and suddenly we found ourselves shut out.  

Here the Lord is warning us about our relationship with Him and also what can happen in our marriages.  We must return to that first love, the courting, the dating, the intimacy and attention that we gave to our partner then.  It can be no less with Christ.  It is not our works that save us in our marriage or our Christianity, it is the relationship that we maintain and cultivate with the one that we say we love. For me, it is often my communication that fails the most.  I get caught up in my own little world and when I fail to communicate, I find I am failing in my relationship.  That communication, especially that which shares my heart, is what my wife needs from me.  She has to feel that connection with my heart to feel close to me and a part of me.  I think this often comes more naturally to women as a general rule than men, but it doesn’t mean that we as men can neglect it.  We have to cultivate it, even when it doesn’t come naturally to us.  It is always remembering that love is not about us, it is about the object of our love.  When we love the Lord or our spouse the way they need to be loved, we will find that our needs are met in our giving and loving.  Let us endeavor to return now to our first love, not just in word, but in deed and with all of our heart. 

 
Blessings,
kent
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When We Doubt

February 12, 2014

When We Doubt

 

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.


When We Doubt


There is a thief the comes to steal,

The identity he says that is not real.

He brings with him doubt, fear and unbelief,

He comes to rob my faith because he is a thief.


What if all my faith is in vain?

Then I can hold on to all my guilt and shame.

What if this message of the cross is just a lie?

Then wretched and most miserable of men am I.


Let me return to the sin and death from which I came,

Let me forsake life and hope if God’s Word is just a game.

Let me return to when my heart was perverted and my walk was lame,

If all roads lead to God, then Jesus why did you come to die in vain?


The Jews passed down the account of all the works that God had done.

They did this so they would not forget all the battles by Him they won.

Take some time to recount all of your blessings, one by one.

You will be find yourself amazed at what the Lord has done.


Intellects want to rob your faith through philosophical clatter,

But what you know in your heart is really what does matter.

What you know to be real in your heart, let no man steal,

Christ in you, redeemed by the blood, that is what is real.


Satan and man can throw up all kinds of smoke and mirrors,

But in the end it is the power of Christ that removes all doubt and fears.

If you embrace the lie it is to your shame,

You’ve been stripped of the truth of why Christ came.


There remains no other sacrifice to take away your sin,

You’ve been robbed of life and power that is only found in Him.

Beware of your reasoning that tells you that Christ is a fairytale,

Lest in that time when all hope is lost, your heart will begin to fail.


If Christ be a lie I will still embrace Him until the end,

Because I have experienced His love and know Him as my friend.

No, I don’t understand the mystery of all of His ways,

But I believe when He calls me up, in Him I will be raised.


So you go ahead and embrace the lie if you will.

But I choose to embrace my Savior still.

I have identified with Him, and so I am no longer my own,

I am becoming flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.


I will not let fear, doubt and unbelief rob me of the identity that is mine.

In Him my life is hid and out of His righteousness my life will shine.

I know who I am and I will not let anyone take that from me.

For in Christ I live and through His blood I have found my liberty.


Poor indeed is the man that let his faith be robbed,

In the day of judgement bitter tears he will sob.

Stand your ground and hold fast the truth proclaimed,

When faith has stood the test, His promises you will claim.


Kent Stuck

 
Blessings,
kent

The Power of Forgiveness

February 11, 2014

 

The Power of Forgiveness


Matthew 6:12-15 (Amplified)

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 

13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 

14For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 

15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.



The Lord began to show and make real today the power and the strongholds over our lives that we give to satan because of our unwillingness to forgive.  We have all experienced things in our lives that have hurt us and maybe even devastated us.  Some of us are still carrying the trauma and the wounds from past relationships or encounters with someone that has broken our trust, who may have deeply hurt or victimized us, either emotionally, spiritually or physically.  While we may think we have moved on in our life, we still carry those things in our heart.  Somehow we can’t seem too or really don’t want to let them go.  The reality is that many that are carrying these past wounds and hurts have not forgiven their offenders.  In fact, they don’t want to forgive them.  What we fail to realize is that our unwillingness to forgive is the cause of issues that are causing us to fail in our relationships with God and man.  Some blame God for letting things happen in their lives that caused this trauma.  As a result they have trouble with having a relationship with Him because they haven’t forgiven God for not intervening on their behalf.  

We live in a world that is still under the darkness of the god of this world.  Jesus Christ provided for us the way of light and truth whereby we could come out of the darkness and abide in His marvelous light.  That doesn’t mean that the darkness of this world won’t and doesn’t touch our natural lives, it does.  Our natural man still abides in a world of sin and death.  Jesus even told us through the words that He spoke to His disciples that we would experience unpleasant things.   In John 16:33 he speaks to his disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  God hasn’t yet delivered us out of the effects of the world and the consequences of sin, but He has given His holy presence to us through the Holy Spirit.  He overcame the world through His love and that is the spirit of overcoming that must dwell in us.  The only thing that can set us free from the bondage of our hurts and the fears that they have created is the love of God.  When we carry an offense then it becomes a fear in us that someone else is going to hurt us again.  It hinders and breaks our ability to have good and healthy relationships in certain aspects of our lives because of the fear brought about by that hurt.  We may not want it to be that way, but it is a cycle that keeps repeating itself and may result in us being the one that is hurting others when secretly, we are trying to protect ourselves.  

Forgiveness is key to our being able to be healed and the restoration of right relationship with both God and man.  Jesus walked out the example before us; he forgave and released the very ones that inflicted such unfathomable pain and suffering and death upon HIm.  The fact is, that everyone one of us was guilty of driving those spikes into His hands and feet.  We were simply represented by the ones who actually did it.  It was the sin in all of us that nailed the Lamb of God to the cross that He might forgive our sins.  We didn’t deserve it.  We could never be good enough to earn it and yet He did it out of love.  The love of God has to be the power in you to let go of your offenses and release your offender(s).  More than we realize, the offenders and perpetrators of hurt and sin may hate themselves, even as much as they have been hated because they are ruled by the power of sin in their own lives and are themselves victims to it.  We all need to forgive even as we have been forgiven.  

Jesus says that if we are unwilling to forgive, then we have hindered and blocked our own forgiveness from God.  There are times when we feel we can’t forgive, the hurt is too deep and the offenses to great.  You may be right, we can’t, but the Christ in us can.  His love is great enough, deep enough and high enough.  Forgiveness most often doesn’t begin as an emotion that we feel, but as an action of our will, a choice that we make.  1 John 2:9-11 says, “Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now. 

10Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin. 

11But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  You see hate and unwillingness to forgive are the gateways to darkness and the roadblocks to God’s love and right relationship with him.  It can end up hurting us much more than the person we are unwilling to forgive.  It can give place to mental, emotional and physical problems in our lives because we are holding on to offenses.  In order to close that door of satan’s access to our lives we have to release forgiveness.  It is not in our natural might or love to forgive, but in the power of the mighty One of love within us.  Receive your healing and deliverance today as you release forgiveness to those that have offended and hurt you.  God wants you to be whole.  Unwillingness to forgive will always make you a broken person.   

What if they hurt me again?  The same love that continues to forgive your offenses can continue to forgive theirs.  As Christians you possess it, but only you can release it. Complete the cycle of love and forgiveness through your life and the choices you make today and set yourself free as well as the one you forgive.

 

Blessings,

kent

God Manifest

February 10, 2014

God Manifest


1 John 1:1-3

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 



What a divine revelation we have of God who came down and manifested Himself in mortal flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.  Never had man seen the practical and tangible presence of God as we have in Jesus.  It is often hard in our natural thinking and reasoning to comprehend God in our world, doing what we do, struggling with what we struggle with, living in the limitations and frailties we deal with in these human bodies.  In Jesus we could readily see in a picture of the reality of what God wants to be in us.  We could observe in the selfless life of Christ, that life isn’t about me, or what I become in this world with regards to the standards and accomplishments of men; it is about how yielded I am to the Father’s life in me.  His true design for you and me is to be the divine expression of His nature and character.  Most of us have fully come to terms with the fact that this isn’t going to happen through our own strength, abilities or determination.  It is only going to happen as we become less and less and He becomes more and more.  Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 says,  “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changedinto the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  The words “transformed” and “changed” come from the Greek word “metamorphoo” from which we get our word “metamorphosis.”  We all can relate with that process wherein that grubby ugly little devouring caterpillar enters into a state in the cocoon wherein it is transformed into a beautiful winged creature that instead of devouring life becomes the perpetuator and the carrier of life as it helps pollinate flowers going from one to another.  They are transformed from the earthly to heavenly creatures.  This same type of process is taking place within us as believers as we walk by the Spirit and not after the flesh.  The Holy Spirit of God is at work in us transforming our nature and character into His.  The transformation is a spiritual act of God as we surrender and give place to His working in us.  

John is communicating here that the disciples were privileged to physically handle and experience God incarnate in Jesus.  They fellowshipped with the author and creator of life.  They lived with and had a window into the very heart and nature of God Himself.  In John 14:6-10 Jesus reveals this truth of the Father in Him, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

John says this in verse 3 of 1 John 1, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”  He says I’m here to share with you what we experienced and the revelation that we have been brought into so that you can have fellowship with me. For those of us who have been personally touched by the Christ, we know that our fellowship, our life and all that we are about is centered in the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.   As the Father was manifest in Jesus, so the Christ is manifesting in those who live and walk after the Spirit.

Are we experiencing the life changing, transforming power of God in our lives more and more each day?  That place of transformation is in His presence, pressing into the life and fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  There is a cocoon of transformation and it is where our life is hid in Christ.  There is where God becomes manifest in us.  

 

Blessings,

kent

 

The Righteous are not Forsaken


Psalms 37:5

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

 

Psalms 37:4 says, “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.”  As a people in general and as Christians I doubt that there are very many of us who don’t face times of real trial and struggle in our lives and many of us more than we would care to talk about.  For many of us, life is often a continual struggle, especially as we attempt to walk out our faith with faithfulness and obedience.  When we do really try and walk closely with the Lord we may find all of hell seems to be unleashed against us or we make some mistakes and then we are overwhelmed with guilt and condemnation because we blew it.  There may be those times we fall, stumble and falter in our walk with the Lord, but remember there is someone stronger than you walking with you.  Praise God we don’t have to rely upon our own strength and righteousness to get us to heaven.  Jesus is our High Priest and Intercessor who is always standing in the gap for us and pleading our cause.  

2 Timothy 2:11-13 tells us, “The saying is sure and worthy of confidence: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him. 12If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny and disown and reject Him, He will also deny and disown and reject us. 13If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.”   The desire of the Father’s heart is that we grow up in the fullness and likeness of Christ.  He has given us the Holy Sprit to help us in that process.  It has been said that the Holy Spirit is a perfect gentleman and doesn’t violate or force our will if we make choices other than Him.  In fact, we often don’t realize how we can offend and hurt the Holy Spirit by our attitudes and actions.  Many of us need to reconcile that relationship with Him.  The thing about God is that if most of us received what we deserved we would have been cast off a long time ago, but God’s heart is always to draw you back to His righteousness and to Christ.  The enemy would like you to think that you have burned your bridges and there is no way back, but the grace and love of God is so high and so wide and so deep that it can span the greatest chasms of sin.  He just wants us to repent and give our lives, without reservation, back to Him.  Even when we fall and fail, the Lord is there for us to pick us up again if we will let Him.  

Life holds many tests and trials for us, some we pass and others we don’t.  We are all in the process of maturing and growing, all too often we poop in our pants and make messes along the way.  We must remember that our past failures can be our future stepping-stones to victory and overcoming.  God will let us fall down.  He will let us make our mistakes and we often have to suffer the consequences, whatever those may be, but He hasn’t turned His back on us.  If we will cry out to Him, if we will repent and begin seeking Him with our whole heart we can find that place of forgiveness, fellowship and communion with the Holy Spirit again. 

If some of us, or others that you know, are struggling today; God hasn’t abandoned you. He has finished the reconciliation upon the cross and now He lovingly waits for us to respond back to Him.  Many people perceive God in unfair and unrealistic ways because of how they have been treated or how they have been impressed and perceived God by the example of those claiming Christianity.  They are turned off to God because of us.  We, like Paul, must remember that our whole mission in life is to suffer whatever is necessary so that others may come into the kingdom. In 2 Timothy 2:10 Paul says, “Therefore I [am ready to] persevere and stand my ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God’s chosen], so that they too may obtain [the] salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with [the reward of] eternal glory.”  May God’s love likewise be extended through us so that we are willing to love even the unlovely for whom Christ died.  Let us continue to encourage and exhort one another to faithfulness.  God loves us and will not forsake us, even in our weaknesses and times of greatest trials.  He may not miraculously save us out of our circumstances in the way we might like to see, but He is there with us, walking it out and giving us grace. 

Don’t give up, don’t give in, but always fix your eyes upon Him.  He will carry you through and He will provide the way and the means.

 
Blessings,
kent

The River of God

February 6, 2014

 

The River of God


Revelations 22:1-2

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. 

 

I believe that through the ages of time there runs a river of life from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  It is a river of Truth and Revelation that God is unfolding to mankind as it flows to the consummation of the ages.  Christ, the Lamb of God, is the greatest truth this river has brought to mankind.  We know that He indeed is the Tree of Life that was there even in the Garden of Eden.  This river has ever been a source of blessing and spiritual fruitfulness.  Psalms 46:2-5 says, “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. [There is] a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High. God [is] in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, [and that] right early.”  It is my prayer that you have been baptized and immersed in that river today, that you are, in fact, the wellspring of the life that is in that river.  That river is not a natural one, but that of the Spirit of God that flows through humanity in the lives of those who are yielded to Him.  When we are in the center of His Life we are in that river.  Jesus says in John 7:38, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers ofliving water.”   

It is producing the fruitfulness of the Spirit in your life.  There is a divine dispensation of that tree of Life in the midst of the river.  It yielded its fruit every month.  Through the Word of God and over time we have seen God revealing Himself more and more to man.  The greatest revelation has been in the revelation of Himself through the incarnate man Christ Jesus.  In Christ we see what God looks like in the flesh, how He acts and the fruit of His life.  We caught the vision and experienced the revelation of His grace and salvation through His blood.  When all around is shaken and moved we still have a river that makes glad the city of God.  

Through the church age we have seen different marked times when God would raise up and an individual or individuals through whom He would reveal a greater truth about Himself.  The greatest tragedy we see in this is not that the truths were not real and precious, but men built a doctrine and a religion around that truth, it became a source of exclusiveness where they saw themselves a little more right and perhaps a little more godly than others.  So they established churches, denominations and schools around that particular doctrine of truth.  Today we see all these denominations and we wonder can they all be right or which one is right?  God is not “a” doctrine or “a” truth, He is “the” Truth. The River of Truth that is never stagnant or still, but continues to flow and reveal itself in greater truth. The denominations have become the product of man’s work that have served to often splinter and divide the body of Christ rather that which causes it to function in unity and oneness as God purposed it too. If this is where you see your life today 1 John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye neednot that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”  It is not to say that churches aren’t good and that we can’t learn from other men, but don’t relinquish the teacher you have within you, the anointing that is leading you into truth as you abide in Him.  This is your River.  We don’t want to find ourselves in the little eddy by the side of the river that just flows round and round but never goes anywhere new.  We want to be out in the depths of the river moving and continually growing in the swell of its Truth.  As part of that mainstream of the River of God we carry the fruit and fruitfulness of the Tree of Life for the healing of the nations.  You are the leaves and the fruit of the Vine.  It is through you and me that God is manifesting His Life and Truth to the world today through the Life giving and revealing Spirit of Truth within us.  We are not to be a stagnant pond of ‘has beens” who once experienced God and know about God, but are not experiencing Him in power and fullness.  If this sounds too much like you then it is time to wade back out into the River and experience the baptism of renewal and refreshing that the Holy Spirit brings.  Come alive and be a part of the pure crystal waters and a part of the tree of Life for the healing of the nations.  Our God is a dynamic force.  He is never stale, stagnant or complacent, but is always moving.  Get in His current and let it carry you to the places of Life in Him He wants to take you.

 
blessings,
kent

Our Steps are Ordered of the Lord

Acts 26:16

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.


Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  People of God, we have feet that are prone to wander.  We know and love God, but our hearts are still deceitfully wicked.  Our spirits are fully redeemed and delight in God after the inward man, but there is a soulish body of sin, that doesn’t want to let go.  It has been sentenced to death through the cross, but it doesn’t want to die.  It is an avenue of temptation that satan uses to lead astray and cause us to wander.  We can’t change ourselves, but we must maintain a vigilance to keep ourselves in relationship and in a place of sitting daily at the feet of Jesus.  We have to keep our focus on the kingdom of heaven and what our life’s purpose is about.  So easily our eyes and heart can turn away and something other than Christ catches our heart.   We often wonder why we experience so little of the Lord’s presence.  Perhaps it is because our time in seeking it and pursuing Him is so limited.  Here is what the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet to Israel, which is for our example.  Jeremiah 14:10 says, “This is what the LORD says about this people:  “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” Does that sound like us?  

I don’t speak out of condemnation.  I speak out of conviction.  I speak out of shame and disappointment with myself at how often and how many ways I must grieve the precious Holy Spirit. God knows our form and He knows our weakness, but that cannot become our excuse, because it is no longer who we are.  Everyday we must lay hold of the life of Christ and when I miss Him, He will forgive me if I repent, but it must become the exception and not the rule.  Our steps are ordered of the Lord.  We must find and stay upon that path.  How subtly we can be steered out of it.  Usually it is just one little step at a time until we suddenly find ourselves in the deep waters of sin and wonder how we got there.  Many times we may find the discipline of the Lord upon our lives or even the course of the natural consequences of our sin.  God loves us.  His desire and purpose is always to draws us back into Him and into His heart.  Hebrews 12:11-15 of the amplified version exhorts us like this, “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. 

12So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, 

13And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured. 

14Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. 

15Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it—” Our Father is for us, not against us.  Even in our weakness and failing He so greatly loves us.  Praise His Name, He loves us enough to correct and discipline us, even though it is often painful, to bring us back to Him.  

If we are walking out of His ways today, come back to Him.  Even this word you are reading now is God’s invitation and cry to come back to Him.  He desires that none of us “falls back and fails to secure God’s grace.”  Luke 1:79 says of Jesus that He came, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Who is ordering our steps today?  What are our hearts following after and our feet carrying us into?  The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord.  Let us delight ourselves in His ways and follow wholly after Him.  “God help us to loose ourselves and renounce the strongholds of sin that want and have taken hold upon our lives.   We are marching to Zion and we must not be turned out of the way.  We behold the throne of God and the Lamb of God that sits in that throne with Him and in Him.  “We must fix our eyes and our hearts upon You, oh Lord.  Order our steps, oh God, and direct our paths in righteousness for Your Name’s sake.”

 

Blessings, 

kent

Principles of Fear

February 4, 2014

Principles of Fear


1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 

Fear can be a dreadful thing, a strong motivator, a real or imagined substance and an object of reverence and respect.  I went through and looked at all of the scriptures that dealt with fear. Did you know that fear occurs some 400 times in the King James Bible?  I would say that makes it something we have to deal with and do deal with.  We have all known fear and in different forms.  We have known fear in a scary sense, an awesome and respectful sense, a sense of reverence, a dreadful sense and in the sense of terror.  So this one word fear can have different connotations to us, just like the word love can.  It doesn’t carry the same meaning and context in every situation.   What is more, is that I was surprised to find that the Word of God deals more with the fear of the Lord than any other fear.  We might not think of fear as having positive and negative effects, but it does.  If we looked at love as a comparison; the highest form of love being the love of God and the lowest form of love being hate.  The highest level of fear is the fear of God and the lowest level of fear is terror.  

When we read the context of scripture here in 1 John we might well question, “Why does the Word tell us so many times to ‘fear God’ and then turn around here and tell us that ‘there is no fear in love’? “ As I was meditating on these things the Lord brought to mind when I used to be an electrician in a power plant.  Before I became an electrician and didn’t understand a lot about electricity, it was a lot scarier to me.  Without understanding there was ignorance and ignorance gave way to fear.  I didn’t know exactly how electricity worked, but I did know it could be dangerous and that it could hurt or even kill you.  The more I learned and worked with electricity the less fearful I became and the more confident I was to work with it.  Electricity can be a lot like God, it can have awesome potential and power, but it has principles and laws that it operates by.  In order to work safely with electricity I had to learn the laws, principles and ways that electricity worked and respect those laws.  If I became complacent, careless or disrespectful of those law then I was opening myself up to hurt.  While I didn’t have to be afraid of electricity in a dreadful sense, I had to always maintain a respectful fear of it.  Even though I couldn’t see it, if I violated it, it could definitely hurt me or kill me.  My safety and my peace were in obedience to the laws and parameters with which I worked with electricity and its related equipment.  The same holds true of God.  He has given us an instruction manual and codebook to know what the principles of God are and how we are to relate with Him.  The more I come to know, experience and live with God in my life, more comfortable and at peace I can feel with Him.  I can never lose my respect for who He is and what violation of His principles and laws will bring.  Now I no longer have to fear God in terror, because I am operating out darkness and ignorance, I am learning to fear God in the highest form of His love.  My obedience and submission to God has moved from being motivated by fear to being motivated by love.  Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”  As I am caught up into the love of God it supersedes the fear of God.  

Let’s take it a step further.  Have you ever wondered why birds can land on power lines with thousands of volts going through them and not be killed or even hurt?  It is because their body becomes that same potential as the power line.  As long as they are at the same potential no harm comes to them, but if they had a long enough legs or wings to reach over and touch and another phase wire or ground they would be toast.  In our unity and oneness with Christ we are at the same potential as He is.  We are conducting His power and life, but if we take that God life and identify it with the flesh, now we have a problem.  Spirit and flesh are at two different potentials and they don’t mix without problems.  We short circuit God’s Life in us and then we become the problem and no longer the solution.  Thank God for the blood of Jesus that is the insulator and the repairer of those conflicts, but it is not the permission for them.  Sin brings us out of the fellowship of love and back into the realm of fear.  Maybe you see how the perfect love of God cast out fear because it can bring us to that place of being at the same potential that He is.  That doesn’t make us God, but it does make us the conduit and transmitter of His life and love.  The potential that exists with us in this place is far greater than when we were on the ground.  As long as we stay in the flow of His love, walking in the Spirit, submitting our whole selves to the principles of His Life, we are operating at an unlimited potential because of that Life that is flowing through us.  

Hopefully this illustration helps to see how the fear of God and the love of God come together.  

 

Blessings,

kent

Be Kind to One Another

February 3, 2014

 

Be Kind to One Another


Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 


It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us.  Think about the example of marriage for a moment.  Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another.  There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other.  What changes?  Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other.  What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated.  Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions.  In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints.  Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses.  The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.  

One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them.  The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness.  Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness.  Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ.  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 

 Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too.  If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit.  You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.”  You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit.  If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast.  The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart.  He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His.  If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are.  In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God.  This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness.  These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so supersedes any kind of love we find in the world.  

Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships.  Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household.  This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us.  Do you like what you see?  Is it what you want and hope to be?  

As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God.  As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined.  We can’t change the heart and actions of others.  They alone are responsible for those.  The way we can change them is by first changing us.  Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us.  Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today.  Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer.  Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you.  Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 

 
Blessings,
kent
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